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Level: Intermediate
Length: 14 mi (22.5 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Out & Back
Elevation: +701/ -707 ft
Total: 52 riders

Mountain Biking South Mills River Trail

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#191 of 546 mountain bike trails in North Carolina
#4,583 in the world

This is an easy out-and-back trail that follows the South Fork Mills River with several swinging bridge crossings that leads to the site of the old Cantrell Lodge. From the trail head, the left side trail down to the river is steep and technical.

First added by RJen on Apr 7, 2012. Last updated Apr 28, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
From Bent Creek Rd. and Hwy 191, go SE about 8 miles through Mills River and turn SW on Hwy 280 for 15 miles to Turkeypen Rd. The trail head is 1 mile up Turkeypen Rd. This road is deeply rutted and a high centered vehicle is recommended, otherwise park at the bottom and allow room for the school bus to turn around. From Brevard and the intersection of Hwy 64 and Hwy 280, drive NE on 280 for 6 miles to Turkeypen Rd.
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South Mills River Trail Trail map

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Local Info

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Trail checkins

Tate.712 (on Jul 31, 2023)
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Trail conditions

Wet (on Feb 16, 2020)
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Rider questions

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  • oohoo

    Overgrown to the point where it is unrideable past the 2nd bridge. Trees down every 100 yds. You will only make the mistake of taking this route once in your life. bushwacking, climbing over 50 downed trees and doing 10 river crossing is not enjoyable.

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  • man.cave

    This trail is fine from turkey pen to the Castrail trail head but from there to Squirrel Gap is grown over big time not to mention 10 crossings of the South Mill River. some were knee deep others were waist deep. The trails had brush on boths sides touching thus leaving you with hundreds of light scratches on legs and hands. I wish somebody had told me and my friend, we would have rode something else. that 4 mile section took us 3.5 hrs to get through due to the condition of the trail.

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  • mtndew24

    Very flat and smooth which is something you don't get a lot at Pisgah. Due to it not being technical it was one of the fastest sections during the Pisgah 55.5k. Also the river that runs parallel adds to the nice scenery but avoid the section between cantrell creek and squirrel gap it is very overgrown.

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  • GoldenGoose

    Along with Pink Beds, one of the easier trails I have ridden in Pisgah. It follows the river and feeder creeks along its majority, except for a short section that allows it to link up with the northern end of the Buckhorn Gap trail. Get used to getting your feet wet as this one crosses water a LOT. Some of the crossings are suspension bridges while others are simply shallow fords. There is a pretty nice camp site not far from the western intersection of the South Mills River and Squirrel Gap trails that would be a great spot to stop on an overnight bikepacking trip. The total length is 12 miles from the western end at FS 476 to the eastern end, which is very close to the Turkeypen trailhead and parking area. Keep an eye out for hikers and horses since this is a multiuse trail.

    * Review edited 10/18/2012

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